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Alaskans To Hold Special Assembly For Episcopal Nomination

Another special assembly has been announced to select one or more nominee(s) each for election to the diocesan Sees of Sitka (and Alaska) of  the Orthodox Church in America. 

Alaskans To Meet in August

In a letter to the Alaskan clergy, dated June 9th, parishes were informed that both the "... annual and special Diocesan Assemblies are scheduled for Friday, August 5, 2011 at St. Innocent Cathedral in Anchorage." The letter continued by explaining: "Our Annual Assembly will be a shortened version. There will be no clergy or institutional reports. The only business presented will be those items required in order to continue the business of the Diocese for another year—financial, budget and election items.

After this short Annual Assembly, we will have a brief recess and convene our Special Assembly. The sole purpose of this Assembly will be the nomination of a candidate for the Episcopal See of Sitka and Alaska. Procedure for that Assembly and bios of vetted candidates will be sent out at a future date."


Bulgarians To Meet Month Earlier

The Alaskan Assembly is the second episcopal nomination gathering to be held this summer. On June 15th a story by reporter Anne Gregory appeared in the Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette that offered the details of the Bulgarian election (The Ft. Wayne Bulgarian parish is one of the largest in the Bulgarian Diocese, and is the site of the special assembly). That story reads:

Rossford, Ohio. – St. George's Orthodox Cathedral in Rossford, Ohio, is pleased to announce that there will be an election of a new bishop for the Bulgarian Diocese of the Orthodox Church in America (the OCA). The election will take place at a special conference (a "sobor") in Fort Wayne, Indiana, on July 7-9, 2011. The elected candidate will be consecrated as bishop at a later date, and will serve at St. George's Orthodox Cathedral in Rossford, Ohio.

The two candidates are Fr. Paul Gassios and Fr. Alexander Golitzin.

Fr. Gassios is the pastor of St. George's Orthodox Cathedral in Rossford, Ohio. He has served as an Orthodox priest for more than 15 years, locally and at parishes in Kokomo, Indiana, and St. Louis, Missouri. He was a social worker before he pursued a vocation in the priesthood. He has two master's degrees: one in social work from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and another in theology from St. Vladimir's Seminary in Yonkers, New York. He is also president of the local Orthodox clergy association.

Fr. Golitzin is a priest and a monk. As a professor of theology, he has taught and published scholarly research for more than 20 years at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He earned a master's degree in theology from St. Vladimir's Seminary in Yonkers, New York. He earned a doctorate degree from Oxford University, England, under the direction of Kallistos Ware, the renowned Orthodox writer and bishop. He spent a year at Simon Petras monastery on Mt. Athos, Greece, and he helped establish mission parishes in Northern California before beginning his career as an academic.

The Bulgarian Diocese was established to serve the spiritual needs of Bulgarian and Macedonian members of the Orthodox Church in North America. It was formed in 1965 as the Bulgarian Diocese in Exile, under the Russian Church Outside of Russia (the ROCOR). In 1976, Bishop Kyrill (Yonchev) led the Bulgarian Diocese from the ROCOR to join the OCA. The position of bishop became available when Archbishop Kyrill fell asleep in the Lord in 2007. This will be the first election of a bishop for this diocese. For more information, see the website for the cathedral at:"

(See original posting and photos here.)

- Mark Stokoe


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